By Hawkins WilliamsCertified Fitness Specialist for Older Adults
So you want to begin a strength-training program to improve your quality of life and to prevent certain health risks. Congratulations!
You have made a life-changing decision. You may be wondering where to
begin. What muscles should you strengthen? So many questions to
answer. This article will address these questions and more.
Before you start any exercise program, you will need clearance
from your primary care physician. Then you can hire a Personal Trainer
or proceed on your own. Whatever you choose to do, you will want to
work those muscles that are weak first to restore balance with your
strong muscles. One of the most important muscles to strengthen are
those of the abdomen (stomach). The reason being is that these muscles
respond first before your arms and legs move. If you have strong
stomach muscles, your strength-training program will be successful and
you will obtain your strengthening goals faster and safer.
However, even before working your stomach muscles, you will want
to warm up your body for five to ten minutes. In order to warm up, you
could ride a stationary bike, walk on a treadmill, or take a walk
outside. There are many more ways to warm up. Those are just a few.
After you are warmed up, you will want to stretch the muscles you
will be working. Now you are ready to begin the strength-training
program. I recommend working the stomach muscles first. They are
usually the weakest and the most important ones. Next, we need to work
the chest, upper back, shoulders, front of the upper arms, and then the
back of the upper arms. The next muscles would be those of the legs and
the hips. If you have joint pain while working these muscles, you
should stop immediately and check with your physician. I highly suggest
that you work the four small muscles of the shoulder joint, which are
called the rotator cuff. I find that most seniors have weak rotator
cuff muscles due to disuse.
How fast should you move the weight or tubing? Your rate of
speed should be slow and controlled. You want to move through a
comfortable range of motion (as far as you can with no pain). It is
okay to feel the muscle working; however, joint pain is a sign of
possible injury. The number of repetitions (how many times you
push/pull the weight) should be between eight and twelve times. Perform
one set, which is how many times you will work a muscle (i.e. your
So how often will you perform your strength-training program? I
suggest three days a week with a day of rest between strength training
days. At the end of your program, stretch all of the muscles you worked
Once again, I commend you on making the decision on becoming
involved in a strength-training program. Once you start, you will begin
to reap the benefits and you can become an example to others. People
will find that you feel better and have increased your quality of life.